LIMA — A locally owned ice cream shop was nearly destroyed and a Lima teenager was hospitalized Monday morning after his car ripped through the building.
Jonathan Michael Taylor, 18, crashed his Buick almost completely through the back of the Sharon Dairy King in Lima.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office and American Township Fire Department responded to the crash around 2:28 a.m. Monday at 2825 W. Elm St. There was no one in the shop at the time of the crash.
Taylor was taken to St. Rita’s Medical Center after the accident. A nurse practitioner for St. Rita’s Medical Center reported Taylor was in stable condition Monday afternoon and an American Township Fire Platoon Chief, Matt Dillon, said his injuries were not life-threatening.
The vehicle hit toward the south side of the building, Dillon said. Taylor drove his car into the building from Gloria Avenue, hit the guardrail and dragged it with him through the building, stopping just short of the front side of the building. Emergency crews extricated Taylor, but the process took nearly an hour.
“He was trapped in the driver’s seat and the car was heavily damaged with a lot of the building contents on top of it,” Dillon said Monday morning. “We had to remove all of the contents to get to the car and then we had to secure the building before we got into the car. So it was a pretty lengthy extrication.”
Sharon Dairy King owner Tim Swick said all of the contents inside the building were lost, including appliances, ice cream machines and other restaurant supplies. The building is also considered a total loss. Straws and plastic spoons littered the ground next to a dented-in air conditioner outside the building as crews worked to clean up the building Monday afternoon.
“Everything,” he said. “And when I say everything, I’m not joking. They took out everything. These guys are telling me there’s nothing left. We saved a few hand-painted signs, but other than that, nothing.”
Allen County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jim Everett said his office was still investigating the cause of the crash. He said his office might not have answers until sometime next week, after a crash analysis report is completed. It is also unknown if Taylor will be facing any charges.
But Swick remains positive. He said the most important thing is that the shop wasn’t open at the time and that Taylor’s injuries were not too extensive.
“We’ll rebuild and we’ll be back and we’ll be stronger,” he said. “Like I said, you can replace a building. You can’t replace a person. I’m just glad he was OK. It could have been a lot worse, if we were open. For him to go through the guardrail and the building, it could have been a lot worse.”
Swick’s parents started the business in 1977 and he took over ownership in 1991. He’s been working in the shop since he was 12 years old, with a 10-year break between then and his ownership.
“It was really hard on them because they were the original owners,” he said. ” But we’ll get through it though. We will.”
The shop closed on Sept. 27 and the original plan, before Monday, was to reopen on March 1. Swick said he’s not sure if it will be before March 1, but the store will definitely reopen in the same location.